George W. Graham

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

George Wallis Graham, 89, of Nevada, Mo., died June 24, 2014, after a short battle with acute leukemia. He died at home with loving family gathered near.

George was born Sept. 6, 1924, at the farm home in Fair Grove, Mo., the son of George Badge Graham and Wilma Lena Bryant Graham. They preceded him in death. Also preceding him were daughter, Linda Louise Graham; sister, Bernice A. Bryant; brother, Franklin A. Graham; and grandchildren, Jess and Haley Graham.

After graduating from Fair Grove High School in 1942, George enrolled at the University of Missouri at Columbia. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, he enlisted in the U.S. Army to serve in World War II. He was trained and served as an artillery spotter with a forward observation squad. His unit, the 691st Field Artillery, landed on Omaha Beach in France several weeks after D-Day. He saw considerable combat across Europe including fighting in the Battle of the Bulge, earned two Bronze Stars and was honorably discharged as a sergeant after the war.

George and Sibyl A. Tolman married in Rogersville, Mo., in 1948.

George attended the University of Missouri graduating with a B.S. degree in agriculture in 1949, and an M.S. degree in Dairy Production in 1950. He remained a lifelong Tiger fan.

Many farm families in southwest Missouri knew him as the "county agent," for years driving down country lanes in a lime-green Chevy pickup. His career with the University of Missouri Extension Service was from 1957 until 1985. He was based in Cedar, Jasper and Vernon counties during his career, retiring as a regional dairy specialist.

George was a member of Epsilon Sigma Phi, an honorary society of the Extension Service. He received awards for outstanding service to agriculture and greatly enjoyed helping farm families. He was a member of the United Methodist Church of Nevada.

Dad was a loving and wonderful father to Bill Graham (Sherry), Platte City, Mo., Bob Graham (Kathi), Lee's Summit, Mo., Jim Graham (Christy), Joplin, Mo., and Jane Ann Hancock (Terry), Nevada, Mo.; grandfather to eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren; and uncle to his beloved nieces and nephews with ties to the Graham and Tolman families.

George loved to fish, hunt, play golf and work good bird dogs. He especially loved time with family.

Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m., Friday, June 27, at Ferry Funeral Home, Nevada, with the Rev. Linda Pagel officiating. The family will receive friends following the service. Interment with military honors will be held at the Hazelwood Cemetery, in Springfield, Mo.

Contributions may be made in his memory to Vernon County Cancer Relief or a charity of choice in care of Ferry Funeral Home, Nevada.

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